In a bid to promote, support and bring together Ebola survivors under one umbrella that will create for them the opportunity to actualize their full potential, Pink Cross Sierra Leone a nongovernmental Organization based in Sierra Leone and sponsored by UNDP as its partner, has completed a three days exercise from the 10th Thursday to Saturday 12th March 2016 supplied sanitation and hygiene materials to survivors and communities stockholders at Aberdeen, Moa Wharf, Kroo Bay, Mabela, Mountain cut, Mount Aureol and Portee, Freetown.
The occasion however attracted personalities from Ministry of Health and Sanitation, Social Welfare, UNDP, Civil Society , Sierra Leone Ebola secretariat, Ebola Partners and other social Organisations.
As health is wealth, it is the initiatives and commitment of Pink Cross SL and it partner (UNDP) to continue promoting the health sector of SL so that the country will not face any dreadful disease like Ebola virus again. Since this is the second trench of the Organization project to supply sanitation and hygiene materials to various communities and survivors in addition to the Psychosocial counselling they had earlier given to survivors in the first trench their implementation.
In appreciation to the work and efforts of Pink Cross SL, beneficiaries or survivors thanked the management of PCSL and its Funders UNDP, and call on Pink Cross to consider them for livelihood support and entrepreneurial capacity to empower them.
In view of this request by the survivors, the Director of Pink Cross SL said them that he considers them most vulnerable and needy among the less privileged he consider for help, and has thus prioritized the survivors. He went on further to declared his intentions of implement projects he has designed that will give the survivors financial empowerment, youth empowerment, and support to EVD orphan, women empowerment and girl child education.
He said he feels terrible to see victims and children that have been deprived of parents and care by Ebola virus. With regards the aforementioned objectives, the Director admonished the survivors and encouraged them to patience as they will definitely reach out to them in due cause, but at the moment the Organization PCSL and it partner’s (UNDP) first of all consideration their health and wellbeing, knowing that if they are not healthy, they wouldn’t be able to embark on any economic venture for which they have choose to target their health first to ensure that everybody and every community maintain the public health best practise and personal hygiene to maintain good health and avoid any future reoccurrence of harmful virus in the midst of Sierra Leoneans.
In his key note address, the Country Director and Programme Coordinator Mr. Jemeal-Tommy said one of their preliminary aims as NGO is to add value to society and ensure that the less privilege are give opportunity to succeed in actualizing their full potential, especially the survivors who had gone through this disease ‘’we want to make sure that we give you a new beginning and to created an atmosphere for you to start a new life that will help you fulfil destiny in this second chance to life. Thus, we will start with hygiene as we have given you the necessary counselling to rehabilitate you back to the communities as heroes to embrace and not to stigmatize in addition to more education and knowledge on personal hygiene given to you in the training sessions and workshops conducted so far.
Mr. Augustine Jemeal-Tommy continue that from the joy and soundness of survivors as compared to how they were before the psychosocial counselling and training that has rehabilitated them in their various communities, proves the evidence of success in their project since the training session was actually meant for the results they see in the life of the EVD SURVIVORS, which remains to ensure that the stigma and discrimination of the survivors by people around them that once challenged their lives and their communities is overcome .
‘’Now that this result is achieved, in addition to the platform created to empower you overcome all stigmatization by virtue of the Psychosocial counselling you have received to overcome all stigmas and our engagements with community stakeholders on dialogue to crave their commitment and responsibility to maintain stigma free environment and encourage community members to embrace you as heroes that God has given a second chance’’.
He presented to the survivors and community stakeholders veronical buckets, dettols, soaps, hand sanitizers, chlorine and other items to keep their homes and environment clean and to maintain personal hygiene everywhere as required by the public health best practise.
Director maintain that, as they have partnered with UNDP and MOHS and hoping for further partnership with other International Organizations in their quest of making sure that health is guaranteed and the less privileged specially EVD survivors are taking care of .
The Project Manager for Pink Cross Sierra Leone Dr. Prince Caleb Thompson said the activities of their Organization are to advocate, support and empower the needy, EVD survivors and help to facilitate the work of Ministry Of Health, UNDP and other partners in the business to aid survivors and victims’ that have been greatly affected by the Ebola virus disease. He further maintained that they have hosted a psychosocial workshop at Aberdeen Community and now they are on the stage of distributing sanitation and hygiene materials to survivors and various communities of project priority so that people will continue to practice environmental and personal hygiene.
Ministry Of Health and Sanitation representative Madam Alice Bolzuin, in her statement expressed satisfaction and appreciated the work of the Organization as they took up good initiatives like this. She commended greatly the efforts of PCSL to ensure that the survivors feel belong and at home even though there are lot of challenges along the line. She promised faithfully that as a representative from MOHS she will continue to advocate to the Ministry to render more assistant to Pink Cross SL to help make their work easier. She commended UNDP for their relentless efforts in financing PCSL in implementing their projects.
In contribution, Kurtmolla Abdulganiyew, Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Officer for Ebola Multi-Partner Trust Fund UNDP said they have partnered with PCSL to ensure that good measures are put in place for the personal well being of every Sierra Leone, starting with the survivors. Adding that, they will continue to entrust their support to PCSL as a donor partners. He also maintain that sierra Leonean people should ensure consistency in hand washing, not only for Ebola but to avoid contacting other diseases
Norse Rebecca Johnson, the ambassador of Pink Cross Sierra Leone, an Ebola survivor as well in an exclusive interview told this medium that one of her aims and objective in forming the Organization as a survivor is to see that EVD survivors are empower in view of the fact that no organisation has considered to indemnify or support them that risked their lives in service to humanity and the nation. Saying ‘’ I know the challenges we face as Ebola survivors, and I have made up my mind to cry to the world for help to support fellow EVD survivors’’.
She added that PCSL has achieved massive success since its inception from the psychosocial counselling, sanitation and hygiene support supplied to survivors and communities and will embark on livelihood and entrepreneurial support to EVD survivors.
Nurse Rebecca further said many people got infected with the virus as result of complacency and lack of the awareness at the starting of the Ebola, and therefore they as an organisation will create the awareness and sensitization needed to ensure that such never occur again in Sierra Leone. Reiterating their slogan ‘’who feels it knows it’’ which implies that only those who went through this sick and survived it knows how it feels.